In a new study from George Washington University, researchers developed a blood test that quickly detects if someone has COVID-19 and predicts how severely the immune system will react to the infection.
The findings could one day lead to a powerful tool to help doctors determine the best treatment plan for people with COVID-19.
Currently, there is no good way to predict how the immune system will respond to the virus that causes COVID-19 or other disease-causing microbes.
The immune response could range from mild symptoms, all the way to critically severe symptoms, which can lead to the intensive care unit or even death.
In the study, the team sequenced whole blood RNA from COVID-19 patients whose symptoms ranged from asymptomatic to severe.
They found visible changes in the cells of people with COVID-19. Their analysis also revealed that COVID-19 severity was associated with an increase in neutrophil activity and a decrease in T-cell activity.
Neutrophils and T-cells, both a type of white blood cell, are part of the body’s immune system and help fight off infections.
In other words, the body’s immune system response, as measured by neutrophil activity, signals that there’s an infection whether caused by a known, novel, or variant pathogen.
The team says this test could prove very valuable during the pandemic, especially as variants continue to spread and doctors need to be confident in identifying the problem and providing effective treatment.
If additional studies prove the test is effective, the researchers plan to seek an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
If you care about Covid, please read studies that people with COVID-19 infections may age much faster, and scientists find antibodies that can neutralize Omicron.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that for people over 50, even ‘mild’ COVID 19 can cause dangerous health problems, and results showing this low-cost drug can treat COVID-19 effectively and safely.
The study is published in PLOS One and was conducted by Timothy McCaffrey et al.
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